Sunday, February 26, 2012

Breathing Patters During the Cheaha 50K

Saturday (2/25/2012) I ran the Cheaha 50K here in Alabama.  This is a tough 50K.  I don't know the exact number of feet of elevation gain but look at the chard below.  It is a bunch with a1000 foot climb starting at mile 27 that beats anything I have ever encountered in a race.

I spent a lot of time going up hill and realized I was shifting breathing patterns depending on whether I was running or walking.  In a post the other day I described how I breathe while I run up hill.  At Cheaha I would shift form running along the flats and gentle climbs to steep climbing that required walking.  As I changed to walking up those steep hills my breathing pattern changed.

I would be running along breathing as I described earlier, breathe in two steps, breathe out two steps and repeat this three times.  Then I would do a quick breathe, breathe in one step, breathe out one step followed by a long, deep breathe for two steps and breathe out again for two steps.  As I shifted from running to walking I realized I was shifting to breathing three quick breaths (in and out on two steps instead of four steps) followed by one deeper breath for two steps and exhale for two steps.  That is, breathe in on step1, out on step 2, in on step 3, out on step 4, in on step 5 and out step 6.  Then I would inhale on steps 7 and 8 then exhale on steps 9 and 10.

For about the first 20 miles this worked great.  Unfortunately, all this breathing didn't help me overcome my usual problem of starting out too fast and dying at the end.  I think running Rocky Raccoon three weeks before was partly responsible for my week finish but I need to learn to control my exuberance at the start. I figure by the time I have run another 40 years I might be able to get it right.

I also intended to take my camera a photograph some of the scenery along the course.  It is a beautiful run with with several great overlooks and stream crossings.  There is a section above Lake Chinnabee that is awesome.  Here are a few shots I borrowed from Daniel Ewert.  I hope he doesn't mind.

The run actually crosses this walkway along the river above Lake Chinnabee.

I didn't see any Kayakers but the run does cross the river.

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